Common amphetamine drugs linked to Parkinson's disease
by Jonathan Benson

(NaturalNews) A new study to be presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology says that users of amphetamine drugs like benzedrine and dexedrine have a heightened risk of developing Parkinson's disease. According to a follow-up review of more than 66,000 volunteers who participated in the Multiphasic Health Checkup Cohort Exam between 1964 and 1973, users of amphetamines were 60 percent more likely than those who did not take the drugs to develop Parkinson's.

The drugs in question, which are commonly used to improve focus and increase wakefulness in patients suffering from narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) -- and which some doctors have illicitly prescribed off-label for weight loss purposes -- directly affect the brain's uptake of dopamine, a vital neurotransmitter that affects mental and physical health. Based on the study, it appears that some side effect of amphetamine drugs is disrupting proper brain function over time, causing it to degrade.

"If further studies confirm these findings, the potential risk of developing Parkinson's disease from these types of amphetamines would need to be considered by doctors before prescribing these drugs as well as be incorporated into amphetamine abuse programs, including illicit use," said Stephen K. Van Den Eeden, PhD, author of the study.

A 2009 study funded by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that common amphetamine drugs like Ritalin that are prescribed to children increase the risk of sudden death by 500 percent. In spite of the findings of that study, the FDA decided that Ritalin was still safe, and that its benefits outweighed its risks